Isn’t that great?

A pasty crimper posed as a porn star to swindle £35,000 out of a lonely pensioner, a court heard.

That the world does that division and specialisation of labour thing enough that someone is employed solely to crimp pasties?

The lesson every college student should know

This is alarmingly self-referential but this is also the one major thing that every student should know. Everything else pales in comparison when we consider economics and economic stories:

Our world has, over your lifetime, undergone the greatest reduction in poverty and misery in human history. Heck, more people have been lifted out of poverty over that time than in all the rest of human history. That’s a story that every college student should know by heart.

And again:

If you care about people, the economic growth over the last generation is one of the most important stories in all 5,000 years of human civilization. Every economic issue discussed in our recent election cycle pales in comparison.

Or as I am quoted saying:

But bugger me, it is working. Ain’t that fucking grand?

Oh dear

So, then: who actually owns this place? That’s what I’ve set out to investigate with my blog, Who Owns England?. I started it last summer, post-referendum, determined that if Brexit really meant “taking back control of our country”, then I’d like at least to know who owns it.

So, Snowflake has been studying this subject for 9 months now.

Understanding who owns this country has been a utopian project for at least a century and a half. In 1872, in an effort to disprove radicals’ claims that only a tiny elite dominated the landed wealth of the nation, Lord Derby – a major landowner himself – asked the government to undertake a proper survey. The Return of Owners of Land – or “Modern Domesday”, as it became known – was the first comprehensive assessment of land ownership in Britain since William the Conqueror’s swag list after the Norman conquest. But far from dousing the demands of the radical land reformers, the survey lit a fire under the issue.

The Return showed that just 710 aristocratic individuals owned a quarter of the entire country. Popularised by the author and socialite John Bateman in a bestselling book, The Acre-Ocracy of England, who owned land suddenly became the talk of the town. But it wasn’t just the gentry keeping up with the Joneses; land reform had become the political issue du jour. After all, this was a time when you couldn’t vote unless you owned property; when tenant farmers were struggling under a severe agricultural depression;

After 9 months studying the subject our Snowflake still doesn’t know that county tenants in various forms were granted the franchise 50 years before and that some boroughs had had tenant electors all along.

Hmm. Sterling work there, eh?

And he’s not really quite right about Henry George being all that radical. Yes, of course an LVT is a good idea. But then feudalism ran on much the same idea, didn’t it?

So this is not Lake Wobegon

“In fact, we know most companies have below-average levels of productivity

Andy Haldane.

Firms which do not export are poor at raising productivity, which Mr Haldane believes may be because they are not as heavily exposed to foreign competition.

Similarly it can help if firms have foreign owners who are used to competing against the best the world has to offer.

Actually, the Treasury had this right in their Brexit document. Imports expose firms to that foreign competition and thus they up their productivity or go bust. This is one of the ways that imports make us richer….

So, Steve Keen then

A professor of economics has turned to crowdfunding to pay his salary because universities “no longer provide the time and freedom they once gave to original thinkers”.

Steve Keen, who is currently employed full time at Kingston University but expects to remain there next year on a quarter-time basis only, hopes to raise enough money via the Patreon website to enable him to continue his work as a public intellectual.

He is initially hoping to raise $10,000 (£8,232) a month, which he says would allow him to work full time on the third edition of his book, Debunking Economics, plus a series of papers, and to continue producing videos for his YouTube channel, which has more than 10,000 subscribers.

Well, good luck to him, obviously. Although there is that slight question of why he’s not using more traditional methods. Say, gaining an advance for that book on economics. Heterodox is a pretty successful area these days, I’m told that Ritchie’s last (not current) went into 5 figures in sales. Tim Harford is approaching a couple of million on his first. And Keen’s hardly unknown in that heterodox world.

He’s also a contributor at Forbes and I know very well that a decent living can be made there.

Fun comment at that link through:

One might almost suggest that he is motivated by self-interest. But mainstream economics has been debunked yes? What a puzzlement…

Denis Kucinich has it all sorted out

The privatization of the money supply is one of five major factors in poverty and inequality today, the other four being the emergence of the military-industrial-intelligence-congressional complex, the maintenance of the for-profit health-care system, and the erosion of public education through the creation of charter schools and the tremendous lifelong debt burden placed on those seeking higher education.

The clarity of the economic thought there is amazing, isn’t it?

So, if we returned to Congress creating money, imported the NHS system, cut the Pentagon, insisted upon only public schools and had free college then there would be no inequality nor poverty in America?

I’m absolutely certain that some of the poverty and inequality is caused by the public school system myself…..

Possibly, maybe, a comment upon Peter Navarro

Somewhere, in an alternative universe, there’s a PhD economist and university professor with head in hands, weeping bitterly, and wondering why he did it.

“I just wanted a gig right? Sell a few books to the rubes feeding their fantasies. Make a movie or two and meet hot actresses. And it worked, they lapped it up.

“But now the President of the Free World actually believes this dreck I’ve been schleppoing as that gig. He’s hired me to put all that nonsense into action.

“Why, why did I do it? Shoulda’ taken that Rolling Stone offer to investigate rape on campus. That turned out way less embarrassing”

I think this man does not understand

What’s so bad about wealth without labor? It depends on who owns the wealth. Under capitalism, wages are how workers receive a portion of what they produce. That portion has always been small, relative to the rewards that flow to the owners of capital.

Actually, I think he’s an idiot.

Think about it just for a second. The capitalist makes how much from each worker? No, not the aggregate income of the capitalist, but how much from each worker? More or less than the worker?

We can even check this at the aggregate level. The capital share of the economy is usually in the 20-30% range, the labour share in the 55-65% range (no, rightly they do not sum to 100%). And the capital share includes paying for depreciation.

Who is getting more of the pie?

Man’s an idiot. For it gets worse, next sentence is:

And over the past several decades, it’s gotten smaller: the share of the national income that goes to wages has been steadily shrinking, while the share that goes to capital has been growing.

That sentence linking to this research which states:

The OECD (2012) has
observed, for example, that over the period from 1990 to 2009 the share of labour
compensation in national income declined in 26 out of 30 advanced countries for which
data were available, and calculated that the median (adjusted) labour share of national
income across these countries fell from 66.1 per cent to 61.7 per cent.

The labour share is more than half the economy. Thus the workers cannot be getting less of the value add than the capitalists, can they?

These people are insane

The living wage in Bangladesh is €260 a month apparently.

No, that’s at market exchange rates. A country where GDP per capita is around €1500 a year should be paying a low end worker €3,100 a year before overtime.

At PPP exchange rates they’re saying that somewhere at about $3,300 per capita GDP should be paying $8,700 a year.

They’re just fucking insane these Clean Clothes people.

Entry level garment maker should, before overtime, get 150% of the salary of a high school teacher in the private sector.


Anyone know the answer here?

How difficult is a gear system to make? No, not cars, bicycles?

Just a very simple 3 gear system to place upon a rickshaw. One thing I noted and did not understand – and despite explanations I still don’t get my head around – is that all of them were one gear only, direct drive I suppose. And it’s hellishly high physical effort that way.

Import duties mean that sending them in wouldn’t work (they’re insane, 300% and the like duties at times) but it’s a pretty simple technology isn’t it? They do, after all, already make the current chain, two umm, whatchamacallits front and back. A gear system is only making the same pieces but in different sizes and a system to switch between them.

Seriously, how tough is this? Labour’s damn near free, there’s a thriving set of workshops making the things in the first place. It’s almost doing the design work and then giving it out if not setting up a small shop to make them at local prices.

The thing that makes me think though is it’s such an obvious technological step. Thus the question isn’t whether it should be done but why hasn’t it already happened? Isn’t it worthwhile? Is it actually too expensive?

There’s a significant part of me thinking that some rich bloke with $50 k really should throw it at the problem. No, not to study it, to go and do it as an experiment. Design some, make some, start selling them (at those local prices, £5 tops for the system installed, £2 better). If it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work, we’ve learned something. If it does then great. There’re a lot more places where it would be of benefit too.

So, what is it that I am missing here? It must be something because I was only in country 48 hours and it puzzled me, better and more informed minds than mine must have pondered this before.

Sorry, but I hate john Naughton

Estimates for private per-capita consumption from 1760 to 1831, for example, suggest that it rose only by about 22%.

I don’t think that’s true, I think we’ve a terrible mismeasurement problem there. But let us assume that it is and we can see why I hate John Naughton.

Because he’s diving into the economics meets technology bit, that’s fine, I do it a lot myself. But without understanding the economics he’s talking about, not fine. It’s the only there that grates.

Leaving aside the aftermath of the Black Death, fairly special circumstances, that’s the fastest growth in personal consumption per capita up to that date.That 70 years is almost certainly more than it rose in the previous 2 centuries.

And that’s a hugely important economics point. In fact, it’s the one we want to explain. 10,000 years of agriculture and the only time living standards rose was when everyone else die. Then something else happens an we get, for the first time, substantial, sustained growth in the living standards of everyman.

It’s actually “the” economic question. What the fuck happened and how do we make sure it doesn’t stop?


Well, yes….

Robert Mugabe’s Wife Says he Could Run in Election ‘As a Corpse’

There’s a rather large number of people who wish he would too.

At which point an interesting question. Is there anyone at all who has managed such economic catastrophe to be visited upon a country in the absence of a shooting war?

Suppose it depends upon whether you think Pol Pot was an outcome of a war or not, that sort of thing. But Mugabe has managed to achieve worse results than even Stalin. Is this a record?


Driverless trucks: economic tsunami may swallow one of most common US jobs
America is producing more than ever before, but it is doing so with fewer and fewer workers. Once trucks become automated, where will these jobs go?

Well, those jobs will be gone, won’t they?


Along with buggy whip makers and dunnikin divers.

There’s a lot of this about

Chancellor Philip Hammond is an “economic illiterate” and does not understand the benefits of free trade, according to veteran economist and former Treasury advisor Professor Patrick Minford.

Mr Minford published a new paper yesterday calling for unilateral free trade, with the immediate elimination of all taxes on imports into Britain.

Minford is correct of course.

“This is economic illiteracy. I don’t know how one deals with an economic illiterate other than to say ‘come to my lectures’,” the professor said, speaking at the launch of EFT.

Are people this stupid really employed as academics?

This is ideological. It’s not that there isn’t enough money to fund proper healthcare or pensions. There is. Remember the vast bank bailouts? Quantitative easing? It’s just that the cash is being directed elsewhere. Most notably to the private sector in the form of massive corporate subsidies, while public utilities are slowly being starved to the point of decrepitude and collapse.

Managing to combine both the stupidity of the magic money tree with the incredible ignorance of the idea that depreciation allowanecs are coporate subsidies.

And yes, he is employed as an academic. Guess where?

Rilly? Scots want less government?

Ministers are under pressure to scrap Scotland’s increasingly costly free universal public services, with a majority of Scots keen to abolish free university tuition and personal care for the elderly.

A Sunday Times investigation has found that amid growing pressure on the public purse, the cost of the flagship free policies has soared to about £2.5bn.

In the case of free personal care alone, the price tag has risen by 287% since it was introduced in 2002 — up from £132m to £500m. Scotland’s ageing population means the cost of that and other free services for elderly people is likely to continue to rise sharply.

Taxpayers are also footing an annual bill of £1.3bn for more than 100m free prescriptions dispensed in the community.

And currently it’s not even the Scots paying for it all. Wonder just how much government they would vote for if they really were paying for it all themselves?